Further thoughts on deaf education

I read with interest Sunday's article, "Deaf education evolving with implants." As a profoundly deaf adult who wears a cochlear implant in one ear and a hearing aid in the other, I speak from experience when I say that the auditory-oral approach works.

Unfortunately, the article implied that research on the impact of auditory-oral programs is inconclusive. In fact, numerous studies have shown that children enrolled in auditory-oral programs have higher education performance than their peers in total-communication or bilingual schools.

Children in such programs are also quickly mainstreamed into local elementary schools, while their peers typically stay in schools for the deaf through high school. The rapid mainstreaming and better school performance result in lower costs to society and a much greater choice of careers and independence.

The article also implied that children in the auditory-oral path have trouble identifying with a community. This isn't true. We form our identities from our families and friends, not from a language. I have many speaking deaf friends as well as many hearing friends. Being deaf isn't the cornerstone of my existence. It's one part of me - just as I also describe myself as being a mom, Jewish, and a journalist.

Lisa A. Goldstein

Communications Director

Pennsylvania Chapter

Alexander Graham Bell Association for

the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Pittsburgh

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The fundamentals of Social Security

In their article Tuesday, "Consensus is wrong on Social Security fix," Theodore R. Marmor and Jerry L. Mashaw explain how Social Security benefits decline when extending the minimum age (fewer years to collect) and as Medicare premiums rise faster than those benefits. They state that "adequate retirement income for average Americans is already in jeopardy." They conclude that low- and middle-income Americans are more likely to have physically demanding jobs with poor working conditions, and that their health conditions may not allow them to work up to retirement age. If so, and they take early retirement, they face "large decreases in benefits," and society will have more costs for increased disability benefits.

Their analysis was solely directed at government programs and responsibilities. They made no mention of a person's responsibility to save for retirement, nor did they note that the program is a safety net, not a full retirement package.

How about returning Social Security to FDR's 1930s fundamentals, which were that benefits would not be taxable income; the date for eligibility would be five years younger than the median life expectancy; and money would be spent only on retirement benefits, not on other programs and benefits added over the years?

Bill Queale

Yardley

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Baseball, copters, and budget cuts

How interesting that Gov. Christie commandeered a police helicopter so he could watch his son play five innings of baseball ("Christie takes helicopter to son's baseball game, Wednesday), given that he cut state funding for my son's school district.

Because of those cuts, the freshman sports program was nearly eliminated, and although my son did have a freshman baseball season this spring, the games were drastically curtailed because many other schools in the conference had been forced to eliminate their freshman sports programs.

By the way, Gov. Christie, when I rush out of work to watch my son play baseball, I drive my car.

Anne Walters

Haddonfield

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Solar energy suits a feudal society

The Inquirer's editorial on Monday ("Solar makes sense") in favor of mandating solar-energy use ignores such basic factors of power production as how much power is produced, how reliable it is, and its cost.

Solar energy is dilute and unreliable. It provides limited expensive power. That is why it requires government-enforced implementation for its use. Solar power is suited to a feudal society, not an industrial society.

Frederick Willis

Haddonfield

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Israeli Arabs are not second-class citizens

A letter Monday ("Israel oppresses the Palestinians") expressed dismay over the reception given by Congress to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and voiced concern over the plight of the Palestinians.

The truth of the matter is that no Arab living in Israel who chose to remain in Israel after the War of Independence is a second-class citizen. All are accorded the full rights of any Jew living in Israel. In fact, some of them have even achieved judicial office in that country.

As far as the wall is concerned, it was built to prevent suicide bombers' coming into the country and killing its citizens. Since it was built some three years ago, there has been only one (unsuccessful) suicide bombing.

There is no reason to accommodate people whose raison d'être is to destroy the state in which you live.

B. Jerome Shane

Newtown Square

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Congress, Israel, and subservience

I applaud The Inquirer for publishing the letter on Monday commenting on the embarrassing subservience on display when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently addressed a joint session of Congress. I have read that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee actually had certain key players (e.g., Sen. Harry Reid) primed with cue cards to lead the ovations, which the rest of "our" representatives followed so enthusiastically.

It made me wonder who runs "our" country, and for whose benefit, and according to which ideals. I know who's paying for it: You and me.

Mary Allen

Philadelphia